We're calling ourselves the "fab 5": Rast, Wagner, Nizzolo, Didier, and Busche, the five survivors of RSNT from Franco-Belge. It's not necessarily funny, but we had to make light of a pretty difficult situation as guys crashed out, and we all narrowly avoided the disasters. We have been making jokes at the dinner table about making t-shirts for ourselves. In any case, I am happy to report that we all did make it through with good morale and team effort. We gave it a poke today with Gregory jumping into a late move on the second last lap of the local circuits. Then we tried to set up Giacomo for a good sprint, but I'm not sure exactly what happened in the end. I pulled until about 1km to go, then as I drifted back, I heard the carnage happen as guys hit the deck in front of me. Lucky for me, I had already drifted far enough back that I simply had to be the gaucher as I rolled by. No RSNT guys, good.
For the rest of the stage, the start was pretty fast, but it was easy to sit in with a good headwind. The break went about 30km in, at which point the peloton relaxed, for a minute. I'm not sure what the inspiration was, but from out of nowhere, Vaconsoleil came to the front and went full gas. The field strung out, split into multiple groups due to the crosswind, then regrouped a bit as guys responded. I was happy to have been sitting at the front when it all went down, so I didn't have so much ground to make up or extra stress to get toward the head of the peloton. From that point, the pace was pretty well 100% until the finish. The local circuit was 14km with a nice little climb in it. It was a big fight to be in the front of the field the entire time, and I certainly expected the field to split, but I think almost everyone came to the final kilometers together. As far as my claim to have a go today, I failed to be frank about it. Basically I chickened out. I had good legs actually, but I didn't have the willingness to go risk my life to be in the front. It was really a mixed bag of emotion because I knew I had good legs, but I also knew that the field was super motivated with the gc battle, so any attack seemed sort of useless. Instead, I decided to do my best to help Giacomo. The good news is that hopefully my legs will be good for the upcoming races. Tuesday is Binche-Tournai-Binche here in Belgium again. We'll have to see what we can do there.